“The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.”
I love new things. Maybe it is the Enneagram 7 in me, or maybe it’s the “Futuristic” from Strengths Finder that I absolutely love to live in; but I look forward to changes. In San Diego, we don’t change seasons very much in terms of weather, but in life, seasons come and go just like an East Coast Spring. The difference between December 31, 2019 and January 1, 2020 is drastic. Different from last year because it is more than a changing date; it is a new decade.
When I was younger, I thought just like my (almost) 6 year old does, the days seemed to drag on forever. The weeks were even longer. As I have aged, I realize that the days and weeks and months and even the years blend together in a kind of patchwork that makes up my life. This year FLEW by. When Christmas decorations started showing up at Target, Walmart, and Home Depot I was shocked how quickly it seemed to be here, and now, a week after Christmas, I am shocked how quickly Christmas is over already. In two days we will be celebrating the new year and no doubt this year will be similar to years’ past- it too will FLY BY.
Vision as defined above by Marian-Webster is the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. Today is a great day to plan for the next year. Visualize the kind of year you hope to have and begin to see the steps you will need to take to make this year the year you want it to be. The year 2020 in and of itself is a powerful reminder of vision. 2020 vision is the ideal definition of your physical eyesight. Do you have 2020 vision for the other aspects of your life too?
Maybe you’ve wanted to write a book. Or start a business. Maybe you’ve wanted to make new friends, or deepen relationships with friends, kids, spouse, or community. What kind of year do you “wish upon a star” that you could have? If you will take some time to think through what you want and/or need, and then analyze the steps you must take to get there, the start of the new decade will be the best it has ever been for you.
The Bible contains timeless wisdom for our lives, in one section it says, “without wisdom, the people perish.” Do you feel like you are withering? Life is meandering with little to know purpose or direction and you find yourself asking, “what’s the purpose?” You may lack vision. You may be struggling with the ability to think about the future with imagination and wisdom. This is a longer than usual blog, but I wanted to share what I do, and how it may help you too. Side note: My wife and I are a team, she has a similar process she goes through with slight differences. But we both work. We both clean the house. We both parent our kids. It is a team thing. You have your own relationships and I encourage you to work together to discover your priorities.
Step one: Determine the most important pieces of life. I can fail at a lot of things. I will never be the best golfer or surfer or musician; I can fail at those things. At work, I can be replaced with someone else (probably someone even better than me). No one can replace my role as a husband to my wife, or father to my children. I absolutely refuse to fail in those categories. So for me, these are my top priorities (in order of importance):
- Personal “walk” with God: spiritual/intellectual growth
- Husband to my wife: Emotional/relational growth
- Father to my children: Emotional/relational growth
- Career: Professional/financial growth
- Physical: Physical health
- Friends: Relational/emotional growth
- Community: Relational growth
These priorities will often mix and mingle together. Sometimes being an excellent father means that I also serve my community or invest in friendships, or go to work to provide for my family. They mix and match.
Step two: Determine S.M.A.R.T. goals within each priority listed above.
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
For example a goal for 2020 that I have that fits under priority 1 is to read more. A SMART goal might look like this:
“I will read 12 books this year, one per month. I will do this by reading 30 minutes every day. 3 books on marriage/parenting, 3 books on career/financial, 3 books on spiritual growth, and 3 books on community service/friendship.”
This is a highly specific, measurable (measurable daily, monthly and annually), achievable, relevant (to the priorities), and time bound (due daily, monthly, quarterly, and annually).
As another example, a goal for my career might look like this:
“In 2020, I will invest in my current clients by hosting 4 “fun” events (quarterly), 4 educational events (quarterly), and by visiting all clients at least 4 times at their office (quarterly).”
Setting goals that you and your partner/team/spouse can review together that are specific, measurable, and time bound will help you achieve more, grow more, and you will see incredible growth in your life in 2020.
Step three: WRITE IT DOWN. Hope is not a strategy. You’ve got to want the growth in your life, and take the actionable steps to make it happen. This means the “A” word we all love to hate, ACCOUNTABILITY. Only 8% of people who set goals will actually accomplish them. By writing your goals down, and reviewing them weekly or monthly, you create an environment where you can adjust and change the strategic plan based on the ever changing circumstances of life. I plan to read every evening for 30 minutes, but if my kids don’t go to bed on time, or I’m out late with a business event, or my wife needs my attention, I may not do it every day. Instead of giving up and quitting, I will readjust, make up where I can, and keep moving forward.
At the end of the day
I have a friend who told me his mom would tell him, “shoot for the moon mijo, even if you miss you’ll land with the stars.” At the end of the day, setting priorities and goals will propel you forward, even if you don’t get them all done. Getting 20% of something is better than 100% of nothing.